Dawn Penn Interview – Tramlines 2016

Let me set the scene for you guys. Tramlines 2016, a brisk Saturday morning, I wander down to the main stage and hear the sweet sounds of reggae blasting from Ponderosa park – the legendary reggae singer Dawn Penn and her band are getting ready for their afternoon slot. I meet all round great guy and Sheffield donk pioneer Alex Deadman, who has promised me an interview with the 64 year old singer herself. Alex has never let me down before and today was going to be no exception. I perched myself on a bench next to Dawn in the backstage area and she immediately started chatting about her very own perfume she’d been working on. It’s called The Dawn Penn Experience and despite it not being available publicly (yet, I must add) I had a little smell and I would even go as far as describing it as ‘divine’. Dawn spoke very quickly and jovially, she seemed very at ease chatting away and the conversation soon started flowing…

Chris Arnold: You’ve lived all over the place – New York, London, Jamaica, Virgin Islands…
Dawn Penn: Well I was born in Jamaica, but around the time I became a young adult I moved to Tortola where my Dad’s side of the family was from. But now I keep my whereabouts under lock and key, you got to think about your security!

CA: Is this your first time in Sheffield?
DP: Maybe I came here a long, long, long, long time ago. Because You Don’t Love Me No More was a hit back in 1994, I was touring a lot, was even on Top of The Pops.

CA: Nice! What was doing Top of the Pops like?
DP: I think I was in a dream world, I was so glad to be there. You know it’s always exciting to be on a TV show like that. It was a great experience.

I considered asking her if she remembered who presented the episode she appeared but then thought better of it in case it lead us down a Dave Lee Travis/Jimmy Savile conversation path. Although after doing some research I found out that Vic & Bob presented the episode Dawn appeared on! What a party that would have been.

CA: I want to ask you really quickly about the music industry, do you feel it’s improved over the years? Got worse?
DP: Oh my, well I have a song called Never Hustle The Music, because that what’s happened to me in the industry. The main thing about this business, and some people might called it ‘a dirty business’, is that you have to really PR & market your brand, your product. It makes you try to hook up yourself with people that do that kind of work, and it’s not cheap! That’s what it entails and every 10 years it all changes. Ultimately you have to remember that it’s about the music, and the music connects you with people.

CA: I hear you work a lot with your son, is that correct?
DP: Yeah my son and I run a label called Da Beat. I was signed to Big Beat Atlantic back in 1994, and I just get the idea that I’m going to call my label Da Beat, the ‘Da’ stands for Dawn. My son just graduated with his business law degree, he thinks money, he lives money, he dreams money! He says he’s a strategist but he very much keeps me on my toes. He is an artist as well and has a lot of very good songs, plus he’s been to school in Jamaica, the US and UK so he can do a lot of different styles. He thinks family members shouldn’t work together, but I think if you have your family together with you in a business you can be stronger. I like the idea of ‘so&so and sons’, like Mumford & Sons!

We then chuckled for a few minutes debating whether Mumford & Sons are actually a family business. Upon doing further research I can confirm that nobody in that band is related. What a con.

CA: You seen very busy at the moment, What have you been up to recently?
DP: Well I did a video in Mexico you know! I can’t tell you when it’s coming out though, even though I have it in my bag, watch out for it coming out soon though.

CA: To finish us off as I know you need to go and get ready for your set – you’ve been performing for quite some time now, do you still enjoy it as much as you do when you started?
DP: When I started I didn’t really know what it was, but now I can see why it’s so necessary to me – I get to see the world for free, I live in hotels but I love it. It’s funny when I was younger and in Jamaica I couldn’t travel at all, I would start to puke. But now I can happily travel all the way to Australia! And then stopping in Hong Kong, Dubai, wherever! And I’ve been to Hawaii, that was very nice, I got up very early to see the sunrise, it’s all good.

CA: It’s all good indeed! Thanks for taking time out to chat Dawn.
DP: Thanks for having me.

Dawn & Chris
© Jenn McCambridge

For those who caught Dawn at Tramlines this year will know already that she was certainly a weekend highlight. If you get the chance to go and see her, make sure you pop on down, fantastic voice and fantastic show woman.

Thanks to Alex, Nicola and James at the Tramlines Promo Office for hooking me up! Go grab a ticket for Tramlines 2017 while they’re hot!

Cool Beans X

The Complete Guide To Terrible Advice

Today marks a sad day. After holding down a position as writer/all round great guy at Now Then Magazine for over 4 years, the team behind the Sheffield publication have released this statement…

It has come to our attention that some of the advice being distributed by Advice Arnold in this monthly Cool Beans column hasn’t been valuable, helpful or, in some cases, legal. This will not come as news to 99% of you, based on the bag of reader correspondence we finally got round to reading. But before we continue this statement, we would like to make it clear that the following advice, a small sample of ‘top tips’ distributed by Advice Arnold through this publication over the past two years, does not in any way represent the views of Now Then Magazine:

– Placing a toaster at the edge of your bathtub in case you get hungry mid-wash.
– Smoking at the gym to gain respect from your peers.
– Using Google Maps whilst taking your driving test (or, indeed, any form of mobile phone usage whilst taking your driving test) to prove to your instructor that you are able to take initiative when lost.
– Peering through people’s windows and watching their television in order to avoid giving the BBC any more money.
– Having a sharp knife visible on your person on a first date to demonstrate your hunter-gatherer skills and your ability to protect your potential mate.

And, worst of all:

– Using Comic Sans font on your CV.

The full list is actually much longer than this. We can’t quite believe some of them got printed in the first place. Hey, we’ve been busy, ok? It takes some serious hours to get this publication out every month and sometimes we don’t have time to actually read it. We are also legally obliged to say that telling your family members that a loved one has just been killed in a horrific traffic incident will never be an acceptable April Fool’s prank.

The Now Then team has unanimously voted to formally discharge Advice Arnold from his monthly column and respectfully recommend he go and take a long, hard look in the mirror.

Our legal bills due to his ‘advice’ are spiralling out of control and, moreover, we’re all looking forward to doing away with Naked Wednesdays, on which he insisted on coming into the office in his birthday suit. It was bad enough in the winter, but since the summer months have arrived he’s been leaving his body outline in sweat on all our sofas. It’s seriously put a dampener on company meetings. We are completely sodden over here. Drenched, in fact.

We will give credit where it’s due, though – finding and marrying a partner who was born on 25 December really is a great way to combine three celebratory occasions with one present.

We wish Advice Arnold well, but politely remind him that a court order prevents him from offering advice to anyone other than birds of prey over the age of five months.

Readers, if Advice Arnold tries to add you on Facebook or Twitter, we recommend that you give him a good old block. You know, just in case.

May his reign of terrible advice end now.

Now Then Management

So there you have it. If anyone knows of any writing work going, please get in touch at chris@coolbeansproductions.co.uk. It would be greatly appreciated. At least we still have the memories though, here’s what the online community are now calling ‘The Complete Guide To Terrible Advice’…

July 2014 – The Cool Beans Guide to Writing The Perfect CV

August 2014 – The Cool Beans Guide To Ethical Living

September 2014 – The Cool Beans Guide to 21st Century Luddism

October 2014 – The Cool Beans Guide to Life Drawing

November 2014 – The Cool Beans Guide to Vinyl

December 2014 – The Cool Beans Guide to The Gym

January 2015 – The Cool Beans Guide to Keeping Your New Year’s Resolution

February 2015 – The Cool Beans Guide to Social Media

March 2015 – The Cool Beans Guide to Living on The Cheap

April 2015 – The Cool Beans Guide to Passing Your Driving Test

May 2015 – The Cool Beans Guide to Starting a Rock Band

June 2015 – The Cool Beans Guide to Making a TV Show

July 2015 – The Cool Beans Guide to Writing A Guide

August 2015 – Marcus Livingstone interviews Chris Arnold

September 2015 – Afraid Of Rejection

October 2015 – Having Fun

November 2015 – TV Trick

December 2015 – Gift Ideas

January 2016 – Happy New Year from Advice Arnold

February 2016 – Dry Jan Diary

March 2016 – Dog Grooming

April 2016 – April Fool

May 2016 – Tax Dodge

June 2016 – First Fest

July 2016 – Advice Arnold Gets Fired

The Last Bite – The Final Cool Beans Party!

Well folks, the time has come, we’ve partied for over 5 years and now the time has come to party one last time.

When I started up Cool Beans I was a young whipper snapper, keen to drink as many cans of Red Stripe as possible and stay up until at least 2AM. Nowadays my bones ache and I consider an almond croissant/latte combination to be a delightful treat. I’m beginning to drift more towards nights out where seating is almost certainly guaranteed and I find Radio 4’s World Service incredibly informative.

I am incredibly proud of what Cool Beans has become, originally focusing on events and an internet-only radio show it’s now branched out to become a TV programme on 7 different channels, an FM radio show, a bookings agency, a podcast, a host stage at multiple festivals and a column in Now Then Magazine. And even though we’re entering the final chapter with regards to the parties we put on, this doesn’t mark the end of Cool Beans, just an end of a certain era of Cool Beans shall we say.

For the final one, we just want to have a royal knees up, a celebration of all the celebrations we’ve had over the last five years. And what better way to celebrate than getting your favourite DJs and closest pals to perform alongisde you on the night. Thus the line up for the 9th July at Yellow Arch is quite simply as follows…

Andy H
Chris Arnold
Jimmy The Gent
Lonesome Dom
Mickey Michaels
Sidekick Jonny
& a cardboard cutout of Andy Enchilada

Tickets are £3 advance (no booking fee) and will be £5 on the door. Everyone who attends will get a free hug from myself and a free wet willy from Mickey Michaels. You can grab tickets for party at this link HERE.

Huge thanks to all the acts we’ve had on the years, all the venues, all the promotors we collaborated with and everyone who has come to a show and shaken some legs. I’d forgotten just how many acts we’ve had on at Cool Beans events, below I’ve listed them and even then I’m pretty sure I’ve missed some out.

Special thanks to the Unseen Bean for all his artwork. And of course thanks to messers Enchilada, Kidson, Michaels, May & Harrold for getting so heavily involved with it all.

Cheers again Sheffield, it’s been a fun 5 years, onwards to the next chapter!

Chris. xxx

Lonesome Dom, Sidekick Jonny, Bison, Hackney Colliery Band, Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer, Mr Benn, The Mother Folkers, King Porter Stomp, Nice One Greg, The Correspondents, Slamboree, Kid Conventionnal, By The Rivers, The Soul Circle Gang, Mango Rescue Team, K.O.G & The Zongo Brigade, Tix, DJ Derek, Wobbly Bob, Airwolf, Mental Block, The Bone Lab, Bison, Wet Nuns, Renegade Brass Band, Cliff Rescue & The Helicopters, DJ Yoda, Plump DJs, The Balkan Bandits, The Indecision, The Mojo Juju Jamboree, New Town Kings, Ham Pocket, Dregs of Society, Mary Anne Hobbs, J*STAR, ROFLCOPTRZ, Soul Love Inc, DJ Woody, The Legitimate Gentlemen, Dutty Moonshine, DJ Shepdog, MJ Cole, Public Service Broadcasting, Sam Vandal, Steel City Rhythm, Wreck The Place, Rev Austin, The Talks, Mr. Stu, Jimmy the Gent, Happy Slap Boutique Crew, Don Limon, Sound Assembly, Dexter Dextrous and the Fingersmiths, Bongo & The Soul Jar, Friends of Batman, The Welsh Whisperer, Kunt & The Gang, The JB Conspiracy, Mojo and the Beatniks, Sound Assembly, 50 Sniffs, Andrew Duxfield, Ghouls, Johnny Kowalski & The Sexy Weirdos, The Grand Old Ukes Of Yorkshire, The Raphael Attar Variety Hour, Ocelus, Jeramiah Ferrari, Stand Out Riot, Soulfunkful, Copasetics, Popes of Chillitown, K.O.G & The Allstar Revolution, Jake & The Jellyfish, Wideboy Generation, Steve and the Raise, Invasion of the Deadbeats, Forefathers, Johnny & The Prison Didn’t Help Boys, The Tempertons, DJ Format, Tyrannosaurus Alan, Surreal Knowledge, Jenova Collective, A.Skillz, Hekima & The Bongo Flava, The Mega Squad, Sophia Pettit, John Batchelor, Jack Athey, Satsuma, Dexter Dextrous & The Fingersmiths, Counting Coins, Carl Woodford, The Navigantes, The Ruby Kid, Bertie Pollak, Zacc Rogers, Papa Soul, Cliff Rescue & The Helicopters, Cervo, Rogue Fader, LK, Papa Al, Septimus Fog, The Janice Graham Band, Carl ‘On Fire’ Watkins, Mudcat Blues Trio, The Chronicles of Graham, The Root One Band, Smiling Ivy, Banana Flavoured Dubcats, Misty’s Big Adventure, Soul Happening, Good Day & Scruples, Sister Danaë, Andy Enchilada, China Shop Bull, The Sheffield University Afro-Carribean Society, Burleskimo, New York Brass Band, Mudcats Blues Trio, East Park Reggae Collective, T-Funk, Physical Jerks, Spit N Strings, Mark Nicholls, Walker, Deadman, Dubzee, Ben Webster, System:Attic, Freear, Mr. Skiver, Stewdoo Voodoo, Andy H, Mikey J, Clipboard, Smiley Maxx, Squiffy, Mystonic, DJ Moses, Krook Kid, DJ Howdle, Andrew Smith, Mr. Meerkat, DJ Silverback, Matt Von Badd, Ed Injury, DMK, Dan Mager, Soulfull Sally, Stoaty, Fantom48, Danny Beck, DJ Darkus, Fruits, Amy, Moody Jim, Wayne Sealey, Wonky Ninja, For The Record DJs, Universal Minds, Emily May, Jah Reynolds, Powlo, Easty, Babba G, Sousafonix, Donnellanium, General Ron, The Meekatron, Bardsy, Matt Von Bad, Arnivore, Banana Hill DJs, Senor Arnoldo, Frail Ale, Fat Eddie, Dreamy Rob & Mickey Michaels.